David Byrne on a post-Trump America: “I want to see real change happen”

"I'm hoping that I look back at [his Presidency] as a near-miss"

David Byrne has shared his hopes for a post-Donald Trump America, though admits it is “too early to celebrate”.

Byrne was speaking as part of last week’s Big Read cover feature, around the release of his new Spike Lee-directed concert film American Utopia.

“For me Trump was not so much a shock; we knew who he is,” Byrne told NME. “He was around New York before that, in the reality show [The Apprentice], we knew what kind of character he was.”


He added: “What shocked me was how quickly the Republican party all fell into line behind him, behind this guy who’s obviously a racist, misogynist liar and everything else. But it’s kind of encouraging – although it’s taken four years and with some it’s only with the prospect of him being gone – that quite a few have been breaking ranks. There are some possibilities of bridge building being held out.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Byrne then warned that it is “too early to celebrate” following Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in last month’s election, discussing the current Republican control of the Senate. “[This] is what happened with Obama…” Byrne said. “I want to see real change happen.

“[Climate change] absolutely needs to be a priority. The clock had turned back over the last four years, so there’s a lot to be done. Whether there’s the willpower to do everything that needs to be done, it remains to be seen, but at least now it’s pointing in the right direction.”

Byrne added that he hopes to look back at the four years of Trump’s presidency as “a near-miss” for the United States.


Elsewhere in the Big Read interview, David Byrne told NME why there “probably won’t” be a Talking Heads reunion in the future.

“There’s a lot of differences that haven’t entirely gone away,” he said. “And I think, as is evident in [the American Utopia] film, I’m having a pretty good time doing what I’m doing.”